From the Maryland State Department of Education:
Maryland students continue to rise above their peers across the nation on the SAT, Advanced Placement (AP), and ACT national assessments, according to newly released data.
Improving achievement by Maryland students is being tallied even as diversity among test-takers has reached an all-time high.
Maryland’s composite SAT score jumped from 1497 in 2009 to 1502 in 2010, a five point increase on the 2400-point scale. That was the largest increase tallied by any state with more than 60 percent of its students taking the SAT.
Scores in the mathematics portion of the SAT jumped four points, from 502 to 506; critical reading jumped one point, from 500 to 501; and writing held steady at 495.
“Maryland’s students are taking seriously the goal of being college- and career-ready after high school, and today’s data release bears that out,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “This news is a tribute to the hard work going on in our schools each and every day, and the record investments we’ve committed as One Maryland, even in tough times, for the teachers and students of our public schools.”
“Our State’s students continue to improve across-the-board, with some of the biggest gains coming from minority students often underrepresented on national tests,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “Maryland’s students, teachers, administrators, and parents deserve another round of applause for this remarkable achievement. Big improvement can be found in schools throughout our State.”
College Board President Gaston Caperton also lauded Maryland’s achievement. “Both the number of minority students in Maryland who plan to go on to college and the number of students who will be the first in their families to seek a college education is on the rise,” he said. “For the U.S. to maintain its leadership position in an increasingly competitive world economy, we must commit ourselves to preparing all students for the challenges of higher education.”
The recently released reports include a variety of positive information for Maryland students. For example:
The number of Maryland students scoring at the college mastery level (scores 3-5) on the AP tests increased 4 percent in 2010, according to data being released today by the College Board. The number of students taking the exams jumped 7.8 percent over 2009. This came on top of already impressive data for the previous two years, which led Maryland to be recognized as the nation’s leader in the percentage of students scoring at high levels.
Scores on the increasingly popular ACT exam, released last month, also showed improvement and a dramatic increase in participation. The state’s 2010 graduates earned an average composite score of 22.3 on the college admission and placement exam, up from 22.1 last year. That’s well above the national average of 21.0, which actually fell over the previous year. The exam is scored on a scale of 1-36.
As Maryland scores on the SAT composite rose by 5 points, the national composite was flat. The State has the 11th highest participation in the exam, with 7 in 10 seniors in the State taking the SAT.
Maryland officials are particularly gratified by the increase in participation. For example, AP participation is up by almost 7.8 percent over 2009, with an additional 3,564 students taking one or more AP exams. Maryland student participation in the AP program has exploded in the past five years, growing nearly 40 percent.
For African American and Hispanic students, the increases in Advanced Placement participation are even more dramatic. African American student participation increased by 12.7 percent from 2009 to 2010, while Hispanic student participation grew 10.9 percent. Over the past five years, African American participation has jumped 110 percent and Hispanic participation has increased 73 percent.
Maryland’s AP program has been fueled by a partnership between MSDE and the College Board, which has brought expertise into schools without a history in AP participation. The result is that Maryland now has the highest percentage of schools offering AP in four core subject areas. Nearly seven in ten Maryland high schools (68 percent) offer AP in four core subjects, compared to the national average of 33.9 percent.
“Our partnership with the College Board has resulted in a more rigorous curriculum for more Maryland students,” said Dr. Grasmick. “This helps us meet our goal of graduating more students who are ready for college or the workforce.”
Participation also is increasing in other assessment programs. Public school student participation in the SAT grew by 4.7 percent in 2010, with increases in all ethnic groups. Meanwhile, the increase in participation on the ACT exam has been pronounced. The number of Maryland students taking the ACT exam increased 9.4 percent in 2010, and has jumped from 7,758 students in 2006 to 11,924 this year.
Scores on the SAT Reasoning Test nationwide were altered when the tests were redesigned in 2005 by the College Board. Changes to the test included the addition of a writing section, third year college preparatory mathematics, and a critical reading section—altering what once was a verbal segment. Once scored on a 1600-point scale, the 2400-point test now takes nearly four hours to complete.
Not from Here says
How is a five-point increase on a 2400 point test a “broad gain”? Insignificant increase would be more accurate.
It’s a five point increase in the mean score; that’s a very different thing than a five point increase for an individual. Those means, by the way, are for all Maryland schools, public and private. The means for just Maryland public schools are 1478 in 2009 and 1485 in 2010.
An average, or mean, only tells a partial story without the standard deviation of the distribution. I have to agree with Not From Here that 5 points, a two-tenths of a percent increase, doesn’t seem like very much. However, if the annual increase has only been at most 1 or 2 points for the last ten years, 5 would be quite something.
Note to The Dagger editors; it would help if you had a link to the raw data in stories like this.
I’m not saying I don’t agree with you that these ‘gains’ aren’t anything I’d be partying about. I’m just saying that statistically speaking, with the sample size of over 46,000, a difference of 5 points in the mean is statistically significant. So technically Grasmick and O’Malley can claim that MD students have made a significant improvement over last year’s scores, and they’ll have a statistical analysis to back up the claim, if you just blindly look at the numbers that are spit out. Then again with that large of a sample size, almost any increase could be considered statistically significant without lowering the significance level too much if any at all.
You know they’re really pushing things when you read that critical reading “jumped one point.” Did one point really require a jump? I think maybe a stumble would get you one point or maybe even a random movement.
I think 5 points is significant when you consider how much extra studying it could take for someone to increase their score enough to hit their target back when you were in school. It’s good to hear that there was an increase, even of 5 points. It wasn’t that long ago when they reported that scores were down in Maryland if I remember correctly (2 years ago or something like that) or was it just Harford County; one of them. Sure they’re sensationalizing it a bit, but it wouldn’t be true to news as we know it if they didn’t.